How retailer can conduct a self-, online marketing audit

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Preface by author, Remco Livain. Why Marketing Audits are essential for retailer.

The term marketing audit sounds daunting, big and unpopular. But, regular checks on the productivity of your marketing efforts helps to stay on track.

In the last 15 years, I have been in online performance marketing and run a consulting company that has specialized on marketing deep-dives for SMEs. The main reason we do these deep-dives is because it helps business owners and (marketing-) team leads find untapped potentials in their marketing setup.

The key reason you will want to do one is to find out whether or not you are focussing your attention on the right elements of your marketing mix.

Who can conduct a marketing audit

If you have a (small) team of marketing professionals that help you with your online marketing, you should make a habit of doing smaller marketing audits, yourself.

The easiest way is to instruct your team to do the following:

  1. Write down and present how the current (account/channel) setup can be improved
  2. Ask each team member to give you a maximum potential budget that they could spend on a channel basis
  3. Request each and every employee to show you examples of what they love to use / view on their spare time
  4. Look at the competition to find out exactly what it is they are focussing their attention on

This will give you a good first indication of the possibilities within your setup. Yet, you might not know how to prioritize these learnings correctly – and that is okay.

Why conduct a marketing audit

A marketing audit can be used for many different reasons. First and foremost, it will help you determine if your marketing budget is spent correctly.

But it is not all about short term optimization.

A marketing audit is just as much about creating a clear vision of the future to determine your focus topics for the months to come, as it is an efficiency task

An online performance marketing check, can help you and your team re-focus on those areas of the business that might have been neglected, or pose the highest amount of potential.

  • Are you spending too much time on social media (reach) campaigns?
  • Does Google Adwords hog all of your time, whereas the optimization potential is limited to a mere few percent increase or decrease per month?
  • Do you have sufficient resources to focus your attention on entirely new marketing channels, too?

How often should I do a thorough marketing check

From experience, I have found that it is worth conducting a 2-4 day marketing audit, every half a year. This leaves sufficient time to act on the learnings from the audit and implement the strategy that has been created in the process.

Those who do small audits on a monthly or even a weekly basis, face the problem of not being able to measure the full impact of their work.

If done well, the online marketing check will not only uncover gaps in marketing spend but also in the marketing organization. However, it takes time to find the right people to follow your vision – let alone reap the benefits of your marketing focus strategy.

How to set goals for your marketing review

You can set whatever goals you would like for an audit. But, I would advise to look beyond the mere short term KPIs.

If you and your marketing team are driven by a cost per acquisition, alone, you might lose sight of the valuable long term marketing goals that are required. Taking a company or product to the next level depends on both efficiency, reach and longevity of the communication efforts.

Part of your goals can be:

  • How satisfied are my customers?
  • What do our re-buyer rates look like?
  • Are we able to fight off a possible, new, competitor in our space if it were to emerge?
  • Is our marketing mix broad enough to deal with a sudden increase in Customer Acquisition Costs or other crucial KPIs?
  • Do our marketing efforts reflect our company and product brand values, sufficiently?

Does this only apply to retailer?

No, of course not. These points apply to all companies, big and small, who spend time and effort in Marketing and communications.

For retailer especially, it is important to monitor the competition regularly, though. The competition is fierce and it is well worth the time invest to either get your team to do an audit, or ask professionals for help.

I hope this article gave you something to think about. Feel free to reach out for support or questions.

Best, Remco

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